This is the issue with getting out the gate slowly, even if you happen to’re a championship horse. You’re biding your time earlier than you kick into excessive gear, however then one thing goes flawed someplace across the first flip, and out of the blue, as the nice Yogi Berra as soon as mentioned, it begins getting late early.
That’s the Golden State Warriors proper now. At 14-15 and at the moment clinging to the Western Conference’s final play-in spot, everybody thought that they had loads of time to get on a roll and begin climbing the standings. But now Stephen Curry is reportedly out for at the least two weeks, with Shams Charania reporting it’s anticipated to be nearer to a month earlier than he returns, with a left shoulder subluxation, which is a flowery method of claiming a partial dislocation.
There’s no option to sugarcoat this: The Warriors are a multitude with out Curry. They at all times have been, actually. Even when Kevin Durant was round. Since the star of the 2019-20 season, they’re 24-66 with out him. This season, they’re scoring simply 103 factors per 100 possessions when Curry sits, which might register because the worst offensive ranking within the league by a mile, per Cleaning the Glass.
By distinction, when Curry is on the courtroom, the Warriors are scoring over 120 factors per 100, which might be the league’s high ranking, per CTG. In different phrases, the distinction between Curry on and off the courtroom is the NBA’s greatest and worst offense. Getting by with the latter for doubtlessly the subsequent month goes to be a particularly difficult, if not inconceivable, endeavor.
In the brief time period, the Warriors have to complete out their present highway journey, which incorporates 4 extra video games all towards good groups: the Sixers, Raptors, Knicks and Nets. The Warriors are 2-13 on the highway to date. At 1-11, solely the Magic personal a worse highway document.
So instantly, if one thing would not change, the Warriors might very properly be one thing like 15-18 and even 14-19 heading again dwelling, the place they’ll then face the Grizzlies, the West’s present No. 2 seed, on Christmas. After that, Golden State has dates with Utah, Portland, Atlanta, Chicago and Phoenix.
This shouldn’t be a straightforward stretch, even when everybody else stays wholesome and Klay Thompson will get inexperienced lit for the three back-to-backs over this stretch. Depth and bench play has been a significant drawback for Golden State all season. One extra damage, and issues get actually bleak.
Not to go all doomsday right here, but when the Warriors pull into mid-January six or seven video games below .500, or worse, their margin for error goes to show razor skinny in an clearly deep Western Conference. The excellent news, even at 14-15, is they’re solely three losses out of a top-four seed for the time being. Things are tightly packed. So, in that sense, there is a state of affairs the place the Warriors come out of Curry’s absence not that a lot worse than the place they’re now.
But, once more, they’re a downright dangerous crew with out Curry. Jordan Poole is now the one life like playmaker and he’ll should play large, however that strips the second unit of its lone playmaker. Andrew Wiggins, who has been cleared to return to apply after lacking the final 5 video games with an adductor damage, must get again ASAP. Curry has been the very best fourth-quarter scorer within the league. Who’s going to get buckets down the stretch ought to the Warriors even discover a option to preserve a few of these video games shut?
Indeed, questions abound. It’s not fairly panic time for the Warriors, however it’s getting shut. Not a lot else can go flawed. This is what occurs whenever you put your self in a gap within the first place.
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